Today’s June Trade Deficit could take the 1.3% Q2 GDP initial reading to below 1% on the revision as the total of $53.1b was well above expectations of $48b. It’s the highest since Oct ’08 and was led by a disappointing 2.3% drop in exports while imports fell by .8% even as petro imports rose. Exports fell to the lowest since Feb and supply issues with Japan likely are part of the reason as finished products for sale weren’t finished in time. Exports did rise to Europe but fell to our largest trade partners of Canada and Mexico and also to Asia and Latin America. Today’s figure is a June number and much has changed since but it does point to a pretty soft finish to Q2 GDP and a likely downward revision to the initial reading. In terms of capturing the economic impact of the major market turbulence over the past few weeks, next week’s NY mfr’g survey will be the 1st August figure to be released, outside of weekly jobless claims.
Initial Jobless Claims totaled 395k, 10k below expectations and below 400k for the 1st time since early April. This follows 16 straight weeks of claims above 400k. The 4 week average is down to 405k from 408k. Continuing Claims fell by 60k to the lowest since April. Also down were Extended Benefits which fell a net 16k. Bottom line, while the pace of firings has slowed, in today’s even more difficult economic environment where about every CEO out there is watching their back not just in the US but everywhere, the level of hiring’s is still going to be muted.